Clinton Rallies in Virginia With VP Contender

     (CN) — Hillary Clinton campaigned alongside Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine on Thursday afternoon, her first appearance with the popular lawmaker considered one of the leading contenders for her pick as vice president.
     An early Clinton backer and a leading light in a battleground state Kaine fired up a crowd of several hundred gathered at a community college auditorium by assailing GOP nominee Donald Trump as unqualified, untested and untrustworthy.
     “Do you want a ‘you’re fired’ president or a ‘you’re hired’ president,” Kaine asked shortly after he bounded onto the stage at the Ernst Cultural Community Center at Northern Virginia Community College.. “Do you want a trash talking president or a bridge building president? Do you want a ‘me-first’ president or a ‘kids and family first’ president?”
     The appearance came as Clinton approaches the final stages of picking her vice president, with an announcement expected as soon as next week.
     It also came as Clinton tried to overcome a string of newly released polls that show her in a dead heat with Trump and with the GOP’s controversial standard-bearer taking a slight lead on her in two key states, Florida and Pennsylvania.
     But one would be hard-pressed to believe Clinton’s got a problem with voters given the thunderous applause and frequent chanting and clapping that greeted her words Thursday.
     “Make no mistake about it, my friends, this is one the most consequential elections in our history,” Clinton said to those who jammed the center and hundreds more who stood outside the building in the blazing hot afternoon sun and 102-degree heat and to hear her remarks via closed-circuit television.
     Clinton spent much of her speech going right after Trump, reminding voters of his failure to share his tax returns and “his attempts at isolating the disabled, women, the LGBT community and Muslims.”
     In a room of largely female and middle-aged voters, Clinton also rallied for equal pay, child care and education and an increased minimum wage.
     She spoke to her experience as founding chairwoman of the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship Fund in 1990, and its impact on her decision to pursue programs that help Americans.
     The fund has since awarded 30,000 scholarships to single parents who want to finish college or find better jobs, she said.
     “We in America do not begrudge success,” Clinton added. “But we have to do more.”
     The former secretary of state arrived in Virginia today only two days removed from campaign stops in Springfield, Illinois where she spoke before the Old State House – the same spot where Abraham Lincoln gave his famous “House Divided” speech.
     Recalling her time there, Clinton said “The eyes of history are on us … We’re going through some hard times. We are in no way facing the kind of existential challenge Lincoln faced, but we’re facing some of our own,” she said.
     “Are we going to come together or fall apart? Are we building walls or bridges? Are we creating opportunity to lift everyone up or are we scapegoating or finger-pointing and marginalizing certain Americans?” she asked the crowd.
     Clinton worked to draw a clear line between herself and Trump, saying she was the only candidate “who promised not to raise taxes on the middle class,” and that she would “provide more incentives for people to bring back jobs from overseas” and make “community college free.”
     She also delineated herself from Trump by pointing to solutions she’s developed to pay for programs these programs.
     “How will I do it? By raising taxes on the wealthy and on people who can afford to pay,” Clinton said.
     Clinton also poked at Trump’s many missteps during the campaign, reminding her base of how much “he loves to say I play the ‘woman card,'” she said, smiling. “Do you know what I say to that?” Clinton asked an already cheering crowd.
     The audience quickly chanted back, “Deal me in!”
     Photo caption:
     Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., right, speaks at a rally at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Thursday, July 14, 2016. Kaine has been rumored to be one of Clinton’s possible vice president choices. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

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